I’ve been using a vintage serving cart as a bar for a few years now. I LOVE IT. What I don’t love is how dusty its contents are and how frequently I have to clean everything. So I’m converting the cart into storage for my line of paper goods (more on that later) and I’m purchasing a new enclosed bar to keep everything clean and tidy.
My living room is small but I currently have about 5 ft of wall space that I can use. I wanted to find something compact, perhaps one that opened up and it had to relatively narrow in depth. I toyed with the idea of converting small buffets I found or even building something but Crate and Barrel had this beauty in their spring line and it was the perfect solution. I can’t wait to post it as soon as it arrives!
I like to make my own syrups and shrubs for cocktails, it’s quick and looks impressive. If I’m expecting company, I’ll make a simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water: cook on medium until sugar dissolves) and grab mint, thyme, lavender or basil from the garden and make an infused syrup.
Instead of keeping club soda and tonic on hand, I user my sodastream to make fresh batches as I need them.
Here’s a stock list for your bar that will make an impromptu cocktail gathering, a stress-free event.
- 8 wine glasses
- 8 champagne glasses
- 4 or 8 double old-fashioned glasses
- 4 martini glasses
- 4 highball glasses
- set of bar tools and shaker
- assorted glass bottles (for homemade syrups and shrubs)
- assorted trays
- sodastream with glass bottles (for homemade soda and tonic)
- ice bucket and tongs
For the Cabinet
- whiskey or bourbon
- red wine
- dry vermouth
- tonic syrup
- a few favorite cordials or liquors (I love elderflower and orange)
For the Fridge
- wine wine
- champagne or prosecco
I’m in a royal slump. I’ve set a deadline for myself to launch a new line of paper goods, and I though I am motivated, my mind is a complete blank when it comes to new ideas. Everything I begin looks like a dozen things I’ve already done. So, I’m taking a break to blog my:
Take 20 minutes (or longer) on Polyvore to curate. Or use Photoshop or another photo editing software. Create a mood board using images around the internet. Make it as complex or simple as you’d like. And don’t worry if the board takes on a life of its own and doesn’t come out at all the way you planned.
2. Learn Something New
Learn to make Sushi. Teach yourself to knit. Or how to stay “where is the bathroom?” in 12 languages. It will help to disengage from the creative block you’re having and in the end you’ll be a more well-rounded person. And be a hit at parties.
3. Talk a Walk Outside
Or a bike ride. Or a run. Step away from your computer/desk/studio and move your body. I love taking dance classes. I’m not particularly good at it but after an hour, I feel invigorated and recharged. And because I spend so much of my time behind a desk, the feeling of physical exhaustion (as opposed to just mental exhaustion) is refreshing. Not convinced? Here’s an article about physical activity and creativity.
4. Talk to a Stranger
Okay, it doesn’t have to be a complete stranger, perhaps a co-worker you don’t know very well or the barista at the coffee shop. Ask them about their day, about their lives. If they’re not in the mood to talk, try someone else. I’m tend to be introverted so just stepping outside my comfort zone can sometimes force a creative spark.
5. Seek out Culture
Go see a play or musical performance. Make it something you wouldn’t normally attend. Or watch one online (PBS and the Digital Theatre have great performances). Give the performance your full, undivided attention. When it’s over write a 140 character summary of the performance.
6. Gorge on Ear Candy
Use the radio functionality on Spotify or Pandora. Spent 30 minutes researching new bands and finding new songs. Create a playlist that exhibits your current mood. Then make one for the opposite mood.
7. Get Your Hands Dirty
Try your hand at gardening. Play with Playdough. Cook or bake. Build something from wood. Fingerpaint. The possibilities are endless, just have a tactile experience. Need inspiration? Check out Makezine.
8. Visit a Library
Pick your favorite section and pull a book off the shelf. Read awhile. Nothing? Try another. And another.
9. Throw a Party in Your Mind Palace
Plan an imaginary dinner party. Come up with a guest list (fictional, historical, doesn’t matter). Give it a theme. Plan a menu. Develop ice breakers or games. Create a signature cocktail. The more elaborate your plan, the better.
10. Use Your Nose
There are dozens of studies showing the effects of scent on our daily lives. Mood, perception of health, productivity and stress can all be positively or negatively influenced my our sense of smell. Try exposing yourself to new or familiar smells and see what happens. Using essential oils in a diffuser or a humidifier is a quick way to infuse your work space. Candles and flowers will work as well.
11. Try, Try Again
Examine several pieces of your previous work as though you had never seen it before. What adjectives would use to describe it? Write down a list of 5 for each piece. Are there adjectives you wish were better represented? Try imagining how you would recreate or edit each piece to make those missing adjectives better represented.
12. Disconnect and Recharge
Turn off the phone, the tv, everything. Lay in the hammock with a cold beer. Have a picnic in the park. Or my favorite: take a nap. Everything seems a little less stressful after a little shut-eye.
Bonus: Write a blog entry detailing your favorite methods to boost creativity.
I’ve been grumpy all week. For no reason that I can think of. My skin is thin and my tolerance is nil. I’m working hard today to remind myself to be happy. I’m a firm believer that happiness doesn’t happen TO YOU, it happens THROUGH YOU. Happiness is hard work. You have to constantly cultivate it.
Which reminds me, I have a friend who wrote to me recently:
Perhaps I need some time to take care of myself. I created a board on Polyvore that’s a pretty good representation of what I wish I was doing right now!
Our long weekend to Disney World turned out to be a cold, rainy one and though walking through the misting rain at night around the boardwalk was beautiful and romantic (why didn’t I take my camera!), I was disappointed the sun only came out the morning we left.
But reliably, Texas Spring began on Valentine’s Day. It’s been 70 degrees and sunny for days and I’m giddy. I was so glad to get tickets to see Nick Offerman and Nancy and Beth at the Paramont Theatre. Such a silly, wonderful Valentine’s date. Here’s a quick video of Nancy and Beth singing one of go-to karaoke songs.
Megan Mullally is my spirit animal.
In honor of shorts weather and date nights: